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Derick Rethans:
Good Bye PHP 5
Jan 11, 2017 @ 10:13:53

On his site Derick Rethans has posted an announcement about a major change in the Xdebug project (a widely used PHP debugger) he leads, saying goodby to PHP 5.

A few days ago I merged a patch into on GitHub. Maintaining PHP 5 and PHP 7 support in one code base is not particularly easy, and even more complicated for something like Xdebug, with its deep interactions with PHP's internals.

As PHP 5.6's active support has ended on December 31st, I also felt it no longer needed to support PHP 5 with Xdebug any more. It saves more than 5000 lines of code.

He shares some of the responses to the change (via Tweets) from the community ranging from full support to outcry over the change. He points out that the current version of Xdebug (2.5) will continue to operate on PHP 5 systems but when Xdebug 2.6 rolls around, the 2.5 branch will only receive bugfixes and no new features. You can find out about those upcoming features here.

tagged: xdebug debugging tool php7 php5 upgrade support

Link: https://derickrethans.nl/xdebug-php5.html

PHP 5: Active Support Ends. Now what?
Jan 02, 2017 @ 12:54:03

The final day of 2016 has come and gone and with it came the end of active support for the PHP 5.6 series of releases. This also marks the end of active support for anything in the PHP 5.x major release and pushing on with PHP 7. In this post to thePHP.cc blog Sebastian Bergmann talks about what this means for you and the tools you use.

The active support by the PHP project for PHP 5.6, the final release series of PHP 5, ends today. What is "active support"? And what does it mean for you? To answer this, you need to understand PHP's release process.

He starts with the release schedule and when it shifted from the "consensus based model" over to an official process, introducing more formality to the whole process (in 2012). He mentions two key terms to the process: "active support" and "security support". PHP 5.6 has moved past active support and is now in the the security support phase with only security fixes to be released from here on out. Sebastian then talks about what this means for your current code and, if you're still running on PHP 5.6, what you should do to come up to speed with PHP 7.x. He lists some of the projects that are moving into the world of PHP 7 only including PhpSpec 4.0, Laravel 5.5 and Symfony 4.

tagged: php5 active support end security php7 migration upgrade

Link: https://thephp.cc/news/2016/12/php-5-active-support-ends-now-what

Freek Van der Herten:
Symfony and Laravel will require PHP 7 soon
Dec 19, 2016 @ 10:36:19

As Freek Van der Herten mentions in this recent post to his site, it was announced by both Fabien Potencier (Symfony) and Taylor Otwell (Laravel) that the upcoming versions of the frameworks - Symfony 4 and Laravel 5.5 - will require PHP 7 by default.

According to Fabien Potencier, lead of the Symfony project, the next major version of Symfony, to be released at then end of 2017, will require PHP 7. But Laravel will drop PHP 5 support even sooner. Taylor Otwell, the creator of Laravel, announced that Laravel 5.5, to be released in June 2017, will leave PHP 5 behind.

Freek talks some about the improvements that come with PHP 7 and which he thinks will show up in the different frameworks' codebase. He sees this as "a message" to the PHP community as a whole that the migration to PHP 7 should happen sooner rather than later (and some of his own work to help reinforce this).

tagged: symfony laravel php7 requirement framework package

Link: https://murze.be/2016/12/laravel-5-5-will-require-php-7-0/

Blackfire.io Blog:
PHP 7 performance improvements (5 Part Series)
Dec 13, 2016 @ 11:54:21

The Blackfire.io blog has just wrapped up their series of posts covering some of the performance improvements that came along with PHP 7. In each post of the series they get into detail on one area, sharing some brief code samples and screenshots from the service showing the performance different between PHP 7 and PHP 5.

Julien Pauli, PHP contributor and release manager, details what changed between PHP 5 and PHP 7, and how to migrate and make effective use of the language optimizations. All statements are documented with specific examples and Blackfire profiles.

The topics covered are:

While some of the examples are (sort of) Symfony related, they're mostly about generic language level features and include some other considerations to think about when using the feature and the performance impact on your application.

tagged: blackfireio php7 performance improvement series

Link: https://blog.blackfire.io/category/tech

Upgrading Your Linux Server to PHP 7.0
Dec 07, 2016 @ 11:47:25

The TutsPlus.com site has a new tutorial posted showing you how to upgrade your Linux server to run PHP 7.0, the latest major release of the PHP language.

PHP 7 was released last December. Once you've tested your code locally to run on it, it's time to upgrade your production server. Generally, I found that most of my sites run well on it.

However, I suspect that not many sites have upgraded yet. It's often safer and easier to stay on older releases. [...] But PHP 7 has now been out for nearly a year.

In today's episode, I'll walk you through my recommended approach to upgrading to PHP 7 on Ubuntu 14.x and resolving problems with PHPMyAdmin, which a lot of early upgraders ran into.

He starts by helping you identify any customizations that you might have related to PHP 5, specifically related to configuration options. He then provides the commands to remove PHP 5 packages from the system and add in the "ondrej/php" PPA for apt-get as the source for the PHP 7 packages. After a quick apt-get cleanup, he includes the commands to install the "php7" packages, enable a few extra modules and getting phpMyAdmin back up and in working order.

tagged: upgrade server php7 php5 ppa aptget phpmyadmin tutorial

Link: https://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/upgrading-your-linux-server-to-php-7--cms-27583

Blackfire.io Blog:
PHP 7 performance improvements (1/5): Packed arrays
Nov 17, 2016 @ 11:06:53

On the Blackfire.io blog a new tutorial has been posted by Julien Pauli looking at some of the features of PHP 7 and how they relate to the overall performance in this latest major version of the language. In this first post in the series Julien talks about packed arrays.

This blog series will show you what changed inside the Zend engine between PHP 5 and PHP 7 and will detail how you, as a developer, may effectively use the new internal optimizations. We are taking PHP 5.6 as a comparison basis.

[...] Packed arrays is the first great PHP 7 optimization. Packed arrays consume less memory and are a bit faster in many operations than traditional arrays.

He gets into the specifics of how the packed arrays work, mentioning the internal optimization the language does, requiring no intervention in user-land code. He shows the difference between the PHP 5.6 performance and PHP 7 using the Blackfire.io tool - a difference of about a 70% gain.

tagged: php7 blackfire performance packed array feature optimize

Link: https://blog.blackfire.io/php-7-performance-improvements-packed-arrays.html

Tumblr Engineering Blog:
PHP 7 at Tumblr
Nov 11, 2016 @ 13:07:07

The Tumblr Engineering blog has a new post with details about how they made the switch to PHP 7 in their previously PHP 5 codebase (and some of the things they learned along the way).

At Tumblr, we’re always looking for new ways to improve the performance of the site. This means things like adding caching to heavily used codepaths, testing out new CDN configurations, or upgrading underlying software.

Recently, in a cross-team effort, we upgraded our full web server fleet from PHP 5 to PHP 7. The whole upgrade was a fun project with some very cool results, so we wanted to share it with you.

They start off with the timeline of events, starting with the original hackday project out through the final PHP 7 deployment in production less than a year later. They cover some of the testing methods they employed during the transition and the impact of the update on their application on request latency, CPU load and memory usage. They wrap up the post talking about some of the PHP 7-specific things they made use of in their update including anonymous functions and scalar type hinting.

tagged: tumblr php7 update php5 hackday project testing performance

Link: https://engineering.tumblr.com/post/152998126990/php-7-at-tumblr

Chike Mgbemena:
PHP 7 In-Depth Look
Nov 04, 2016 @ 11:58:51

Chike Mgbemena has posted a great guide for those out there still getting familiar with what PHP 7 has to offer and things to watch for when migrating your PHP 5.x code up to this latest version.

PHP 7 was released on 03 Dec 2015, and so many people have not yet started using or learning about the awesome features it has. I wrote this post to give a breakdown of the features released with PHP 7 for those that have not yet learnt about them and even if you know it, you might still learn something from this post.

Rasmus Lerdorf (creator of PHP) claims that apps running PHP 7 performance is improved by 100% or more. Memory usage is lower also, so if you are running a lot of servers, PHP 7 is an essential upgrade. One of the big changes in PHP 7 is the refactored ZEND Engine(PHPNG) which is now faster, memory usage reduced and a “green” version of PHP which makes you run less hardware to run your code.

He starts with a list of things that have been removed from PHP 7 including the MySQL extension (not mysqli), posix regular expression handling and the deprecation of the "salt" option in password hashing. He goes on to talk about some of the new things that come with PHP 7 including:

  • the "spaceship" operator
  • allowing constants to be defined as arrays (previously just strings)
  • the random_bytes and random_integer functions

He also covers one of the most major changes in PHP 7: the inclusion of type hinting and checking, generators, error handling updates and a few other miscellaneous changes.

tagged: php7 indepth language changes guide

Link: http://chikemgbemena.com/2016/10/29/php-7-in-depth-look/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
A Crash Course of Changes to Exception Handling in PHP 7
Nov 02, 2016 @ 11:10:09

The SitePoint PHP blog has a tutorial they've posted that shares information about changes in the exception handling in PHP 7 and what you need to know about them (and potentially change in your application).

Exception handling saves your code in the most unusual circumstances. PHP 7 has introduced two new classes that assist a developer in handling errors with ease, and that’s what we’ll look at in this post. Before the introduction of these classes in PHP 7, exception error classes were written to handle the different types of errors.

They start with the new "Throwable" interface that's the base for both the "Exception" and "Error" class types. From there the article talks about the "Error" type, showing the list of new errors included in PHP 7: ArithmeticErrors, TypeError, ParseError and AssertionError. It also includes code examples for each showing when they'd be thrown and how you can catch them (more specifically than just catching all exceptions).

tagged: changes exception handling php7 crashcourse

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/a-crash-course-of-changes-to-exception-handling-in-php-7/

Chike Mgbemena:
Abstract Syntax Tree/Uniform Variable Syntax in PHP 7+
Nov 01, 2016 @ 11:57:01

Chike Mgbemena has a new post to his site looking at PHP 7 and the abstract syntax tree and uniform variable syntax changes that came along with it.

On my previous post (PHP 7 In-depth Look), I discussed in-depth about the features of PHP 7 (you can read it here if you have not). In this post, I am going to be talking about The Abstract Syntax Tree(AST)/Uniform Variable Syntax in PHP 7+.

PHP 7 introduced a new layer which is called the Abstract Syntax Tree(AST) which helps in decoupling the process of parsing from the pseudo-compile process. Note that this new layer does not have much impact on performance but it make the syntax uniform. Uniform variable syntax/abstract syntax tree aims to establish internally consistent variable syntax, references are accessed from left to right instead of right to left.

He goes on to talk about dereferencing, how it changed from the PHP 5 handling and what IIFEs have to do with it. Some sample code is included showing some of his points and how PHP 7 interprets things slightly different than PHP 7.

tagged: abstractsyntaxtree ast uniform variable syntax php7 php5

Link: http://chikemgbemena.com/2016/11/01/abstract-syntax-treeuniform-variable-syntax-in-php-7/